GEA supports govt’s IMF bid

The Ghana Employers’ Association (GEA) has backed government’s decision to seek the support of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to help address economic challenges facing the country.

This comes off the back of ongoing debate about the move,by some associations, including the Trade Union Congress (TUC), who described it as a “tragic mistake and bad decision.”

However, according to President of GEA, Dan Acheampong, an IMF programme was currently necessary to provide the urgently needed policy credibility, restore stability and confidence in the Ghanaian economy, as well as reduce perceived risk and fears held by employers and investors.

“It is envisaged that the IMF intervention, by way of balance of payments support, will create some fiscal space for Government to pursue relevant short-term policies to return the economy to the path of fiscal consolidation and debt sustainability,” MrAcheampong said.

He made the call at the 62nd Annual General Meeting of the GEA, in Accra, yesterday, on the theme: “Sustaining businesses in the midst of macro-economic challenges.”

In view of current challenges, Mr Acheampong said, the Enhanced Domestic Programme that would form the basis of the engagement with the Fund, should focus on fiscal consolidation, restoration of debt sustainability, robust monetary and financial sector policies as well as prudent exchange rate management measures.

Mr Acheampong said, in order to augment fiscal consolidation, the GEA was entreating government to speed up the implementation of the tax Exemption Bill, which had just been passed by Parliament, to render efficient and effective tax exemption management.

He recommended that the benchmark value policy be reviewed to cover imported goods that were not produced locally, and a sunset clause provided for goods produced locally, but not in sufficient quantities while efficiently implementing enduring import substitution policies for same.

The GEA President further advised the government to review and streamline the flagship programmes, to make them achieve their intended objectives without any significant fiscal pressure, adding that “We believe that this will create some fiscal space for Central Government to operate.”

The Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Bright Wireko-Brobbey, reiterated the need for dialogue in resolving labour disputes without disrupting the processes of production and jeopardising the stability of industry in the face of the current challenges.

The Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, she said, would continue to promote the principles of dialogue, enforce the provisions of the existing labour laws and regulations, protect the rights of workers and employers as well and promote safety nets for employers and workers.

Additionally, he said, the ministry would engage key government institutions, including the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Trade and Industry for the creation of enabling business environment for macroeconomic stability.

“In these times of economic hardship, the best thing to do is to continue to engage each other and share information among ourselves so that we can find lasting solution together,” MrWireko-Brobbey added.

Abena Osei-Poku, the Managing Director of Absa Bank Ghana, advised businesses to create a continuity plan to be able to cope with current and unforeseen challenges.

She urged employers to support and motivate employees by communicating with them on current economic environment and its impact for their support.

BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS

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